2015 NBA Power Rankings #2 – Sloppy Brilliance in San Francisco

Obviously 2 weeks is not a lot of season-  1/12 to 1/13 of the way there.  But now we have seen the teams play a few games, certainly enough for a few general trends on teams.  The ranking process is outlined here.   Going forward, with some blatant stealing from what Jonah Keri does for baseball, I’ll highlight some of the dish for a team in each tier of 10.

#2. Golden State Warriors (5-2)

If there has been one thing truly baffling about the NBA the last couple of seasons, it has been how such a collection of talented offensive guys have managed to underperform.  The Warriors, with the otherworldly talent of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and the fascinating offensive talents of Harrison Barnes, playmaking from Andre Iguodala – it feels like there is an elite offensive squad there.  Certainly we’ve seen what happens when Stephen Curry catches fire:

There is nothing more exciting, especially in Oakland, where they have the best crowd in the league.  But you look at the efficiency numbers and what you see when you slow down their breakneck pace – is actually a defensive juggernaut who squeezes out enough offense to get by.  This year’s edition so far has been no different, despite Steve Kerr being brought in partly to figure this out. (and partly to not feud with his bosses).  What is particularly amazing is HOW the Warriors are a mediocre offense.

You’d think the Warriors are loaded with shooters -and you’d be right.  This so far has actually been a really good shooting.  The Warriors make almost 50% of their shots (tops in the league), and they take and make a lot of three pointers.  (5th in attempts, 6th in make %)  They don’t get to the line a ton, but it is not terrible either – and they predictably shoot those well too.  Really, this is a pretty dynamite offense when it gets to put a shot up.  But, so far this season the Warriors are solidly the league’s worst team at creating shots for themselves.  Right now, the Warriors are creating only 81 scoring attempts per game (FGA + .44*FTA), which is not only last but 6.6 scoring attempts worse than 29th place.  Put another way, the 29th place Magic are closer to 7th in attempts than to the Warriors exalted 30th place.  The Warriors have managed this amazing trick with a combination of butterfingers and not chasing down misses.  As the Spurs showed last year, the latter can be a conscious choice, but when you aren’t hanging on to possessions too – there is very little margin for error for Golden State.  The team’s TS% is a remarkable 63.7%, and given how few scoring chances they get – it has to be good.

This is a shame, since the Warriors defensively are excellent (2nd overall so far).  They were great last year too, and they are strong across the board.  The Warriors are 5th in the league in TS% defense and 7th in shot generation defense.  The team takes the ball away a lot, and has only allowed 41.8% shooting so far.  That said, they are allowing 29.3% of opponent shot attempts to be 3s – they are defending the line at a 30.3% clip – well below the 34.7% league average.  There might be some regression there later in the season, but this is a good club.

#11. Toronto Raptors (7-1)

Considering that the Raps share the best record so far with the Blazers, it is odd for them not to be in the Top 10.  However, these rankings so early know little about schedule strength and what not (and considering that each team shares 58 of 82 games, the final result will not be all that dissimilar).  The Raptors are doing a lot of good things.  One of them is taking care of the ball.  In stark contrast to Golden State’s robust 30th place total (turnovers on 21.5% of trips down the floor), Toronto is a microscopic 11.3% turnover rate (only New Orleans is better).  The team is also shooting the ball well (10th) while getting to the line a lot.  This results in 6th best TS% and the 8th best shot generation.  To give you more perspective on the Warriors, this means that on a pace-normal basis the Raptors have been generating nearly 12 shots more per game than Golden State.

Defensively, it is more of a work in progress.  In particular the Raptors have not defended shots well.  The team ranks 20th or worse in FG and 3P defense while also fouling at an above average rate.  The only thing they have done well so far is force turnovers.

#30. Denver Nuggets (1-5)

It is weird to not type “Philadelphia 76ers” here.  The Sixers might not win a game this season!  At the same time, the Sixers have at least played a host of good defensive teams so far.  The Nuggets have no such excuse, going 1-5 against what has been a pretty easy schedule, both in terms of offenses and defenses faced.  What the Nuggets offer is some general badness – where their pace of play cannot cover up areas of weakness.  Pretty simply, despite having many of the components of the good team George Karl left behind, this is a team that has shot the ball very poorly (29th overall, dead last from 3).  Given the talent and the three point percentage, maybe there will be improvement based on regression.  Defensively though things have to pick up.  Denver plays the same hectic pace you expect in the Rockies, but there has not been a lot of effectiveness.  The FG defense is actually not terrible (19th in the league) but right now the Nuggets are 29th in FT rate and 27th in forcing turnovers.  There is a lot of fouling and not a lot of aggression.  I don’t expect them to be this bad – the talent is too good to be outright terrible – but it is hard to see a playoff team here.

Rankings through Games of 11/11/2014

Rnk Team W L Off OffSOS AdjOff Def DefSOS AdjDef RoadWt Total Pace
1 Rockets 6 1 101.13 (10) 100.38 (30) 0.74 (13) 89.9 (1) 100.43 (5) -10.53 (2) 2 13.27 95.94 (11)
2 Warriors 5 2 97.66 (17) 97.66 (7) 0.01 (15) 90.65 (2) 101.3 (2) -10.65 (1) 2 12.65 101.85 (1)
3 Blazers 5 3 102.82 (6) 98.72 (15) 4.1 (7) 94.1 (6) 99.03 (12) -4.94 (4) 0.88 9.91 94.85 (15)
4 Mavericks 5 3 107.25 (1) 97.88 (10) 9.37 (1) 103.22 (26) 100.72 (4) 2.51 (21) 1.75 8.61 93.37 (25)
5 Celtics 3 3 102.51 (7) 96.81 (3) 5.7 (5) 102.61 (25) 102.56 (1) 0.05 (14) 1.75 7.4 98.81 (3)
6 Heat 5 2 104.23 (4) 96.15 (2) 8.09 (2) 100.84 (22) 98.55 (14) 2.29 (19) 1.5 7.3 93.34 (26)
7 Kings 5 3 99.49 (13) 98.05 (11) 1.44 (12) 96.09 (9) 98.34 (15) -2.25 (9) 2.19 5.87 96.11 (10)
8 Spurs 4 3 95.62 (21) 97.05 (4) -1.44 (18) 96.05 (8) 101.28 (3) -5.23 (3) 2 5.79 94.78 (16)
9 Grizzlies 7 1 97.04 (18) 99.12 (19) -2.07 (20) 92 (3) 96.71 (24) -4.71 (5) 2.19 4.82 93.01 (28)
10 Wizards 5 2 96.64 (20) 98.76 (16) -2.12 (21) 93.58 (5) 97.53 (21) -3.95 (6) 2.5 4.33 94.76 (17)
11 Raptors 7 1 104.34 (3) 98.56 (14) 5.78 (4) 99.16 (15) 96.13 (26) 3.03 (24) 1.31 4.06 97.69 (6)
12 Bulls 6 2 103.5 (5) 100.12 (27) 3.38 (8) 97.76 (13) 95.29 (29) 2.48 (20) 1.75 2.65 94.48 (18)
13 Clippers 4 3 100.89 (11) 98.42 (12) 2.46 (9) 99.37 (16) 98.11 (19) 1.26 (18) 1 2.2 95.09 (14)
14 Timberwolves 2 4 96.73 (19) 98.5 (13) -1.76 (19) 98.16 (14) 99.66 (7) -1.5 (11) 2.33 2.07 96.14 (9)
15 Suns 4 3 98.74 (16) 100.07 (25) -1.33 (17) 97.12 (12) 99.06 (10) -1.94 (10) 1 1.61 97.16 (7)
16 Hawks 3 3 99.09 (14) 99.48 (23) -0.39 (16) 97.07 (11) 96.56 (25) 0.51 (16) 2.33 1.43 94.3 (19)
17 Nets 4 2 104.84 (2) 100.18 (28) 4.66 (6) 99.4 (17) 94.96 (30) 4.44 (26) 1.17 1.39 95.09 (13)
18 Jazz 3 5 101.75 (9) 99.36 (21) 2.39 (10) 103.54 (27) 99.42 (8) 4.12 (25) 1.75 0.02 91.4 (29)
19 Hornets 3 5 94.57 (23) 99.42 (22) -4.85 (24) 95.95 (7) 99.06 (11) -3.11 (8) 1.75 0.01 93.42 (24)
20 Bucks 4 4 92.54 (28) 97.68 (8) -5.14 (25) 92.47 (4) 95.67 (28) -3.2 (7) 1.75 -0.19 94.24 (20)
21 Pelicans 3 3 99.06 (15) 98.77 (17) 0.29 (14) 100.57 (21) 97.79 (20) 2.77 (23) 1.75 -0.73 95.67 (12)
22 Pacers 2 6 93.82 (25) 97.85 (9) -4.04 (23) 96.21 (10) 97.42 (22) -1.21 (12) 1.31 -1.52 93.21 (27)
23 Cavaliers 3 3 102.11 (8) 100.08 (26) 2.03 (11) 106.49 (29) 98.24 (17) 8.25 (29) 2.33 -3.89 93.84 (22)
24 Thunder 2 6 91.78 (29) 97.52 (6) -5.74 (27) 99.79 (19) 99.4 (9) 0.39 (15) 2.19 -3.94 93.67 (23)
25 Magic 2 6 93.04 (26) 99.35 (20) -6.31 (28) 100 (20) 100.03 (6) -0.03 (13) 2.19 -4.1 96.77 (8)
26 Lakers 1 6 100.03 (12) 93.66 (1) 6.37 (3) 110.18 (30) 95.73 (27) 14.46 (30) 1.5 -6.58 97.81 (5)
27 Pistons 2 5 93 (27) 100.36 (29) -7.35 (30) 99.52 (18) 98.26 (16) 1.25 (17) 1.5 -7.11 94.08 (21)
28 Knicks 2 6 95.39 (22) 98.91 (18) -3.52 (22) 103.57 (28) 98.19 (18) 5.39 (27) 1.75 -7.16 91 (30)
29 Sixers 0 7 90.08 (30) 97.2 (5) -7.12 (29) 101.21 (23) 98.65 (13) 2.56 (22) 1.5 -8.18 98.64 (4)
30 Nuggets 1 5 94.08 (24) 99.62 (24) -5.54 (26) 102.35 (24) 96.76 (23) 5.6 (28) 1.75 -9.38 100.4 (2)

2014 College Football – Week 11 – An Inedible Nut

So, what happened.  I ranted quite a bit about how the committee’s selection is not an improvement over the BCS, or whatever the hell it is that I do.  That still is very much the case.  Of course since we last talked, Auburn lost and LSU lost, but of course losses in the midst of the SEC West just have not shown the impact that losses in other conferences have shown.  Honestly there is no actually bad SEC West defeat.

But a home loss to Ohio State?  Oh, Sparty.  The loss to Ohio State moves them out of the lead in the Big Ten.  While metrically they are not in terrible shape – it is impossible to justly give them the nod over many other more deserving teams.

  • The final 4: Mississippi State, Alabama,  Baylor and Ohio State.  With Ole Miss going down, this sets us free to pick Alabama as the wild card.  Looking at the TotalRank, TCU, Baylor and Ohio State are the clear 3 teams to draw from (although if you still respect FSU for being unbeaten – unimpressively against an easier schedule maybe).  Baylor gets the nod with the head to head win over TCU while the Buckeyes have just been a lot more impressive than Florida State.  Both the Buckeyes and Oregon have ghastly home losses to live down (the Buckeyes looks much worse certainly).  The rub is that the Buckeyes have played better generally since and their demolition of a very good Michigan State team on the road is better than that.
  • Other automatic qualifiers:  Oregon from the Pac 12, Florida State from the ACC, Marshall from “everybody else”.  Auburn as the highest ranked of (SEC, Notre Dame, Big Ten) gives them the Orange Bowl spot.
  • This leaves just four more spots.  Here, this gets Ole Miss, TCU, Michigan State and Georgia as the other teams to get to 12.  The bowl matchups come up pretty easily here, although TCU goes to the Fiesta Bowl to avoid the Sparty-Duck rematch.
  • BOWL PROJECTIONS.
    • Sugar Bowl: Mississippi State v Ohio State
    • Rose Bowl: Alabama v Baylor
    • Orange Bowl: Florida State v Auburn
    • Cotton Bowl: Michigan State v Ole Miss  
    • Peach Bowl: Georgia v Marshall
    • Fiesta Bowl: TCU v Oregon

Weekly Power Rankings

Rank Team W L RPI Scale DSR Scale TotalRank
1 Alabama 8 1 0.975 (2) 1 (1) 0.987
2 Auburn 7 2 0.881 (6) 0.893 (4) 0.887
3 Ole Miss 8 2 0.866 (8) 0.899 (3) 0.882
4 Mississippi State 9 0 1 (1) 0.762 (14) 0.881
5 TCU 8 1 0.883 (5) 0.874 (5) 0.879
6 Baylor 8 1 0.822 (13) 0.91 (2) 0.866
7 Ohio State 8 1 0.849 (9) 0.858 (8) 0.854
8 Florida State 9 0 0.965 (3) 0.647 (29) 0.806
9 Oregon 9 1 0.891 (4) 0.71 (18) 0.801
10 Michigan State 7 2 0.74 (26) 0.858 (7) 0.799
11 Georgia 7 2 0.791 (19) 0.795 (11) 0.793
12 LSU 7 3 0.713 (28) 0.871 (6) 0.792
13 Wisconsin 7 2 0.741 (25) 0.821 (9) 0.781
14 Clemson 7 2 0.793 (18) 0.766 (12) 0.779
15 Nebraska 8 1 0.845 (10) 0.707 (20) 0.776
16 Notre Dame 7 2 0.839 (12) 0.693 (22) 0.766
17 Boise State 7 2 0.798 (17) 0.723 (17) 0.761
18 Marshall 9 0 0.814 (15) 0.705 (21) 0.76
19 Arizona State 8 1 0.873 (7) 0.629 (32) 0.751
20 UCLA 8 2 0.845 (11) 0.611 (33) 0.728
21 Louisville 7 3 0.689 (31) 0.763 (13) 0.726
22 Georgia Tech 8 2 0.771 (20) 0.672 (25) 0.722
23 Miami-FL 6 3 0.717 (27) 0.727 (16) 0.722
24 Kansas State 7 2 0.756 (22) 0.66 (28) 0.708
25 Oklahoma 6 3 0.699 (29) 0.71 (19) 0.705
26 Colorado State 9 1 0.822 (14) 0.586 (38) 0.704
27 West Virginia 6 4 0.625 (42) 0.752 (15) 0.689
28 Duke 8 1 0.812 (16) 0.565 (48) 0.688
29 Texas A&M 7 3 0.755 (23) 0.602 (35) 0.679
30 Arizona 7 2 0.77 (21) 0.584 (40) 0.677
31 Florida 5 3 0.661 (35) 0.676 (24) 0.668
32 USC 6 3 0.686 (32) 0.63 (31) 0.658
33 Arkansas 4 5 0.499 (65) 0.803 (10) 0.651
34 Minnesota 7 2 0.751 (24) 0.512 (57) 0.632
35 Louisiana Tech 7 3 0.66 (36) 0.567 (46) 0.613
36 Stanford 5 4 0.557 (51) 0.665 (27) 0.611
37 Georgia Southern 8 2 0.643 (38) 0.579 (43) 0.611
38 Memphis 6 3 0.632 (40) 0.58 (42) 0.606
39 East Carolina 6 2 0.627 (41) 0.581 (41) 0.604
40 Air Force 7 2 0.671 (34) 0.521 (54) 0.596
41 Arkansas State 6 3 0.603 (43) 0.586 (39) 0.595
42 BYU 5 4 0.57 (49) 0.59 (36) 0.58
43 Iowa 6 3 0.579 (48) 0.578 (44) 0.579
44 Missouri 7 2 0.692 (30) 0.464 (70) 0.578
45 LA-Lafayette 6 3 0.596 (44) 0.556 (50) 0.576
46 Boston College 6 4 0.535 (58) 0.605 (34) 0.57
47 Penn State 5 4 0.506 (63) 0.63 (30) 0.568
48 Virginia Tech 4 5 0.446 (74) 0.667 (26) 0.557
49 Tennessee 4 5 0.518 (60) 0.59 (37) 0.554
50 Maryland 6 3 0.641 (39) 0.455 (73) 0.548
51 Utah State 7 3 0.655 (37) 0.435 (80) 0.545
52 Cincinnati 5 3 0.58 (47) 0.506 (58) 0.543
53 Utah 6 3 0.674 (33) 0.409 (83) 0.542
54 Nevada 5 3 0.586 (45) 0.494 (62) 0.54
55 Pittsburgh 4 5 0.378 (85) 0.686 (23) 0.532
56 UCF 5 3 0.537 (56) 0.525 (53) 0.531
57 Michigan 5 5 0.483 (67) 0.557 (49) 0.52
58 Texas 5 5 0.505 (64) 0.53 (51) 0.518
59 Western Michigan 6 3 0.556 (52) 0.473 (67) 0.514
60 California 5 4 0.54 (55) 0.483 (65) 0.512
61 Northern Illinois 7 2 0.582 (46) 0.437 (78) 0.509
62 Rice 6 3 0.553 (53) 0.465 (68) 0.509
63 Central Michigan 6 4 0.467 (71) 0.518 (56) 0.493
64 South Carolina 4 5 0.451 (72) 0.529 (52) 0.49
65 Rutgers 5 4 0.541 (54) 0.437 (79) 0.489
66 North Carolina 4 5 0.482 (68) 0.492 (64) 0.487
67 Houston 5 4 0.399 (82) 0.571 (45) 0.485
68 NC State 5 5 0.495 (66) 0.464 (71) 0.479
69 Washington 6 4 0.561 (50) 0.391 (88) 0.476
70 Kentucky 5 5 0.473 (69) 0.454 (74) 0.463
71 Navy 4 5 0.427 (76) 0.498 (60) 0.463
72 Virginia 4 6 0.407 (81) 0.519 (55) 0.463
73 Toledo 6 3 0.515 (61) 0.406 (84) 0.461
74 MTSU 5 4 0.515 (62) 0.403 (85) 0.459
75 South Alabama 5 4 0.451 (73) 0.448 (75) 0.449
76 Oklahoma State 5 4 0.522 (59) 0.37 (92) 0.446
77 Northwestern 3 6 0.321 (93) 0.566 (47) 0.443
78 UTEP 5 4 0.469 (70) 0.414 (82) 0.442
79 San Jose State 3 5 0.384 (84) 0.498 (61) 0.441
80 UAB 5 5 0.415 (78) 0.464 (69) 0.44
81 Bowling Green 6 3 0.535 (57) 0.331 (100) 0.433
82 Washington State 3 7 0.351 (90) 0.503 (59) 0.427
83 Illinois 4 5 0.442 (75) 0.393 (86) 0.418
84 Texas State 5 4 0.39 (83) 0.44 (76) 0.415
85 Temple 5 4 0.419 (77) 0.388 (89) 0.403
86 Syracuse 3 7 0.354 (89) 0.429 (81) 0.391
87 San Diego State 5 4 0.413 (79) 0.354 (96) 0.384
88 Western Kentucky 4 5 0.412 (80) 0.355 (94) 0.383
89 Akron 4 5 0.32 (94) 0.439 (77) 0.38
90 Oregon State 4 5 0.359 (88) 0.393 (87) 0.376
91 Appalachian State 4 5 0.267 (102) 0.473 (66) 0.37
92 Colorado 2 8 0.245 (103) 0.494 (63) 0.37
93 Ohio 5 5 0.376 (86) 0.354 (97) 0.365
94 Texas Tech 3 6 0.339 (91) 0.383 (90) 0.361
95 Wyoming 4 6 0.375 (87) 0.326 (102) 0.351
96 Purdue 3 7 0.325 (92) 0.357 (93) 0.341
97 Tulane 3 6 0.282 (100) 0.376 (91) 0.329
98 Indiana 3 6 0.308 (96) 0.33 (101) 0.319
99 Fresno State 3 6 0.31 (95) 0.308 (104) 0.309
100 LA-Monroe 3 6 0.237 (107) 0.355 (95) 0.296
101 Old Dominion 4 6 0.305 (97) 0.287 (108) 0.296
102 Southern Miss 3 7 0.303 (98) 0.274 (112) 0.288
103 New Mexico 3 6 0.283 (99) 0.272 (114) 0.278
104 Kansas 3 6 0.278 (101) 0.274 (113) 0.276
105 Iowa State 2 7 0.243 (105) 0.308 (105) 0.276
106 Ball State 3 6 0.193 (110) 0.343 (99) 0.268
107 FIU 3 7 0.176 (113) 0.35 (98) 0.263
108 Florida Atlantic 3 7 0.237 (106) 0.284 (109) 0.261
109 Idaho 1 8 0.006 (128) 0.456 (72) 0.231
110 North Texas 3 6 0.2 (109) 0.255 (116) 0.227
111 South Florida 3 6 0.234 (108) 0.209 (121) 0.222
112 Tulsa 2 7 0.141 (116) 0.289 (107) 0.215
113 Buffalo 3 6 0.143 (115) 0.282 (111) 0.212
114 Massachusetts 2 7 0.116 (119) 0.299 (106) 0.208
115 Hawaii 2 7 0.132 (117) 0.282 (110) 0.207
116 UTSA 2 7 0.187 (111) 0.221 (119) 0.204
117 Vanderbilt 3 7 0.244 (104) 0.156 (125) 0.2
118 Miami-OH 2 8 0.068 (125) 0.316 (103) 0.192
119 Wake Forest 2 7 0.184 (112) 0.178 (123) 0.181
120 New Mexico State 2 8 0.089 (123) 0.267 (115) 0.178
121 Army 3 6 0.168 (114) 0.182 (122) 0.175
122 Connecticut 2 7 0.119 (118) 0.228 (118) 0.174
123 UNLV 2 8 0.108 (121) 0.213 (120) 0.161
124 Kent State 1 8 0.018 (127) 0.251 (117) 0.135
125 Troy 2 8 0.072 (124) 0.136 (126) 0.104
126 Georgia State 1 9 0 (129) 0.161 (124) 0.08
127 Non FBS 8 94 0.11 (120) 0.012 (128) 0.061
128 Eastern Michigan 2 7 0.098 (122) 0 (129) 0.049
129 SMU 0 8 0.039 (126) 0.048 (127) 0.044

2015 NBA Power Rankings #1 – The First Week

Even without my Celtics being serious contenders, this is as excited I have been for a new NBA season. Last year was one of the best years the league has ever had, and the dramatic offseason featuring LeBron doing something or other only made things more compelling.  Sprinkle in one of the most fascinating rookie classes of recent memory along with the rise of The Brow, and there are storylines galore.  Also – after a 1 year absence, we have some power rankings.  The chart at the end here is a bit of an eyesore, but this is some pretty tried and true analysis.  The method?

  • Offense and Defense are based on points per possession.  A possession is defined as a trip down the floor ending with a made shot, a shot rebounded by the other team, or a turnover.  Box scores do not provide numbers of possessions, but the FGA + .44* FTA – OffReb + TO is a good estimator.  Note here an offensive rebound keeps a possession alive, and .44 assumes that there are more and-ones than three shot fouls.
  • For defense, instead of points allowed, I substitute FTs allowed with a global FT%.  That is, I take out the luck of having your opponent make all their freebies.
  • I calculate the number of possessions in a 48 minute game, and that number is used to create Off and Def Ratings.  Looking at Golden State’s offense, this means they are averaging 98.8 points per “average speed” game.  The Pace column shows the number of possessions per game.
  • The schedule adjustment is more sophisticated than it has been.  For each team I calculate the adjusted points scored and allowed (against other opponents) and use that to normalize both offense and defense.  For example, the Celtics allow 103.55 points per game (23rd in the league).  However, their opponents are averaging 112.32 points per game in their non-Celtics games (highest in the league) so the adjusted defense is actually -8.77 (4th in the league).  The Celtics allows 8.77 points FEWER than their opponents score against the rest of the league.  For the record, I do not think the Celtics are the 2nd best team in the league – but their schedule has been very tough based on info to date.  Note that 58 of each teams 82 games are the same (everybody plays each other twice).  So the schedule adjustments will shrink as the season goes on. (and why I don’t care about “opponents’ opponents” right now.
  • Part of power rankings should include a forward looking component.  As such, I expect to add a “recent form” component after the season hits the 25% mark or so.

So, after discussing the methodology, the next question is what can we get from early results?  Not a whole lot, but we can make a few observations.

  1. The Celtics pledged to run more this season.  Running more is the sort of “check is in the mail” you always hear about in the preseason but never happens.  But so far, the Celtics are playing the 2nd fastest pace in the league – so there is definitely some intent there.  The Knicks were slowpokes last year, and are even moreso this year.
  2. The Lakers are off to an awesomely bad start defensively.  Their raw numbers are terrible, but their adjusted ones aren’t good either.  When you see the Suns ranking 11th in offense, but the Lakers schedule is rated 22nd in terms of opponents offense, it shows that the two games LA and Phoenix have played so far drives almost all of Phoenix’s offensive success.  Let’s put it this way – on a raw basis, the Jazz (29th defensively) are closer to 15th place than they are to 30th.  The Lakers can rope in any free agent they want, so I do not weep for them – but this team has been worse than anybody could imagine.
  3. Detroit had one of the more celebrated coaching changes of the new season.  Stan Van Gundy, one of the league’s best defensive coaches, has shown his impact right away with Detroit leaping up to a decent defense so far (league average).  But the offense has been ghastly complete with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s remarkable start.
  4. And that leaves us with the Cavaliers and their very uninspired start.  Particularly startling is the offensive issues.  The defense has been bad, and that was going to be the uphill battle.  However, we expected an offensive juggernaut right away.  Right now, that juggernaut has yet to appear – with the team shooting just 40%, 29th in the league while only getting to the line on 25.9/100 shots. (23rd in the league).  The three point frequency is nothing special either (21st) – so this seems to be a team which is taking a lot of long 2 pointers, which is death for an offense.  There is a lot of work to do on this end of the floor, let alone the defense.

(through games of 11/3/14)

Rnk Team W L Off OffSOS AdjOff Def DefSOS AdjDef RoadWt Total Pace
1 Warriors 3 0 98.8 (17) 101.41 (21) -2.61 (19) 85.15 (1) 101.23 (11) -16.08 (1) 2.33 15.8 102.55 (1)
2 Celtics 1 2 101.17 (13) 97.62 (11) 3.54 (10) 103.55 (23) 112.32 (1) -8.77 (4) 2.33 14.65 102.36 (2)
3 Kings 3 1 94.91 (21) 92.97 (4) 1.94 (13) 91.17 (3) 99.15 (15) -7.98 (6) 1.75 11.67 98 (6)
4 Bulls 2 1 105.04 (5) 102.49 (25) 2.55 (12) 95.46 (9) 101.78 (6) -6.33 (7) 2.33 11.21 93.51 (26)
5 Mavericks 3 1 113.5 (1) 96.13 (6) 17.37 (1) 104.05 (26) 95.88 (23) 8.17 (28) 1.75 10.95 94.41 (20)
6 Heat 3 0 109.36 (3) 98.95 (13) 10.4 (3) 99.95 (16) 99.12 (16) 0.84 (17) 1.17 10.73 95.87 (14)
7 Rockets 4 0 104.89 (6) 107.13 (29) -2.25 (18) 91.3 (4) 100.54 (13) -9.23 (3) 2.63 9.61 95.99 (13)
8 Jazz 1 3 104.88 (7) 96.18 (7) 8.71 (5) 106.81 (29) 105.77 (3) 1.04 (19) 1.75 9.42 94.62 (19)
9 Grizzlies 4 0 93.42 (23) 99.58 (17) -6.17 (22) 86.61 (2) 99.66 (14) -13.04 (2) 1.75 8.62 93.92 (23)
10 Hawks 1 1 104.6 (8) 102.96 (26) 1.64 (14) 96.93 (11) 102.02 (5) -5.09 (9) 1.75 8.48 93.5 (27)
11 Spurs 1 1 99.47 (15) 102.19 (23) -2.73 (20) 100.8 (17) 109.34 (2) -8.53 (5) 1.75 7.56 91.58 (29)
12 Blazers 1 2 96.48 (20) 92.23 (3) 4.25 (9) 94.54 (8) 95.37 (25) -0.84 (13) 1.17 6.26 96.07 (12)
13 Raptors 2 1 105.18 (4) 96.91 (10) 8.28 (6) 106.75 (28) 101.47 (8) 5.29 (22) 2.33 5.32 96.93 (9)
14 Timberwolves 1 2 101.56 (12) 90.39 (1) 11.17 (2) 100.93 (18) 93.59 (27) 7.33 (25) 1.17 5 95.36 (16)
15 Wizards 2 1 101.66 (10) 98.96 (14) 2.69 (11) 97.7 (12) 97.67 (18) 0.03 (15) 2.33 5 96.84 (10)
16 Cavaliers 1 1 100.66 (14) 100.28 (20) 0.39 (15) 102.55 (21) 101.63 (7) 0.92 (18) 1.75 1.21 92.35 (28)
17 Nets 2 1 109.62 (2) 100.09 (19) 9.53 (4) 102.69 (22) 90.9 (30) 11.79 (29) 2.33 0.08 94.17 (21)
18 Pelicans 1 2 93.05 (24) 99.32 (16) -6.27 (23) 96.69 (10) 101.47 (9) -4.78 (10) 1.17 -0.32 98.24 (5)
19 Hornets 1 2 89.14 (28) 96.23 (8) -7.09 (25) 91.57 (5) 96.1 (21) -4.53 (11) 1.17 -1.4 93.56 (25)
20 Knicks 2 1 99.23 (16) 94.6 (5) 4.62 (8) 103.57 (24) 95.68 (24) 7.89 (27) 1.17 -2.1 87.29 (30)
21 Suns 2 1 101.58 (11) 111.61 (30) -10.03 (26) 98.05 (13) 103.5 (4) -5.45 (8) 1.17 -3.41 95.65 (15)
22 Clippers 3 1 103.16 (9) 105.16 (28) -2 (17) 99.59 (14) 96.48 (20) 3.11 (21) 0.88 -4.24 95.27 (17)
23 Bucks 1 2 93.56 (22) 98.46 (12) -4.9 (21) 94.53 (7) 92.82 (28) 1.71 (20) 2.33 -4.28 97.73 (8)
24 Pacers 1 2 96.7 (19) 96.71 (9) 0 (16) 101.56 (19) 93.91 (26) 7.64 (26) 1.17 -6.48 93.87 (24)
25 Nuggets 1 2 90.5 (27) 101.85 (22) -11.35 (28) 92.33 (6) 92.59 (29) -0.26 (14) 1.17 -9.92 100.65 (3)
26 Thunder 1 3 92.53 (25) 99.15 (15) -6.62 (24) 103.63 (25) 97.64 (19) 5.99 (23) 2.63 -9.98 94.82 (18)
27 Sixers 0 4 88.43 (29) 99.67 (18) -11.24 (27) 102.01 (20) 101.45 (10) 0.55 (16) 1.75 -10.05 97.86 (7)
28 Pistons 0 3 88.26 (30) 102.39 (24) -14.13 (30) 99.61 (15) 101.05 (12) -1.43 (12) 2.33 -10.37 94.16 (22)
29 Lakers 0 4 97.46 (18) 91.94 (2) 5.52 (7) 115.13 (30) 95.94 (22) 19.19 (30) 1.75 -11.92 99.37 (4)
30 Magic 0 3 91.79 (26) 103.68 (27) -11.89 (29) 105.53 (27) 98.25 (17) 7.28 (24) 1.17 -18.01 96.45 (11)

2014 College Football – Week 9 – So This is What the Committee Came Up With

One of the reasons for this exercise has been to discuss the parameters of how to select a Final Four from 128 teams with such small samples.  This year’s innovation as everybody knows is to go with the 12 person selection committee.  How would they choose?  What sort of process and criteria would be used?  Well – the first committee rankings are in, and the early results are not encouraging.  The committee members have a hard job, but they have also proceeded to do it badly.  How so?

Well, just looking at the rankings out of the chute, the Top 10 looks eerily similar to, say, the AP poll.  Now this means one of two things.  1) That the AP poll is smart or 2) THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS READ THE POLLS.  That the committee members seem to be using the polls as a signpost of any kind if very dangerous – as now all of the problems of the polls come into play.  Have the voters watched all 128 teams?  Have the voters truly treated the teams as all starting 0-0 i.e. how much of Florida State’s #2 ranking is driven by them being perceived as #1 in August?  If the answer is “significant”, then somebody is doing it wrong.  Furthermore, if the ranking is just going to be week to week deviations based on wins or losses, then it is also lazy (like the AP poll).  All 128 teams performance each week should inform us on the overall rankings MORE each week.  (in other words, you expect ranking shifts to shrink as the season moves on)  But right now, this does not look like an improvement on the BCS aside from having a 4 team playoff.

I do not claim my ranking is be-all and end-all, and note I do use subjective criteria to rank the Final Four in combination with the numbers.  However, the rankings are not subject to the constipated groupthink of the human rankings, which in this first glance seem AWFULLY coloured by national perception (which the AP poll helps shape).

With LSU’s slugfest over Ole Miss and the hellaciously entertaining South Carolina-Auburn game in the can, some more movements in the rankings.  As far as the one-man playoff selection committee?

  • The final 4: Mississippi State, Alabama,  Michigan State and Florida State.  With Ole Miss going down, this sets us free to pick Alabama as the wild card.  Auburn and Ole Miss are defensible choices too – although their game with Ole Miss will help settle things there.  Even though Mississippi State is #3 in this framework, they do lead the SEC, and so that takes precedent.  So then the task is to pick the other two teams.  You can go by straight rank, but I prefer to use the TotalRank (the raw scores) and then make some judgement.  Michigan State is sort of in a tier of itself clearly, so they get the #3.  For the #4 seed, note that teams #6 through #14 are all rated somewhere between .750 and .800, all fair candidates.  As such, I will go with Florida State as an unbeaten conference leader who have the wins, even though they have not played that well.  TCU, Baylor and Notre Dame are all entirely defensible too.
  • Other automatic qualifiers:  TCU from the Big 12, Oregon from the Pac 12, Marshall from “everybody else”.  With Florida State in the national semifinals, the Orange Bowl by fiat takes Clemson, the next highest ranked ACC team.  The opponent is the highest rated SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame opponent so hooray for Auburna.
  • This leaves just three more spots.  Here Ole Miss get in with monstrous strength ratings.  Baylor and Georgia get the other two slots.  LSU is defensible here too, although it makes good bowl matchups harder.  This leaves us with a Fiesta Bowl which might take 5 hours to play.
  • BOWL PROJECTIONS.
    • Sugar Bowl: Mississippi State v Florida State
    • Rose Bowl: Alabama v Michigan State
    • Orange Bowl: Clemson v Auburn
    • Cotton Bowl: Baylor v Ole Miss  
    • Peach Bowl: Georgia v Marshall
    • Fiesta Bowl: TCU v Oregon

Weekly Power Rankings

Rank Team W L RPI Scale DSR Scale TotalRank
1 Alabama 7 1 0.9 (5) 1 (1) 0.95
2 Auburn 6 1 0.941 (2) 0.884 (3) 0.913
3 Mississippi State 7 0 1 (1) 0.822 (7) 0.911
4 Ole Miss 7 1 0.919 (4) 0.886 (2) 0.903
5 Michigan State 7 1 0.796 (9) 0.844 (4) 0.82
6 Georgia 6 1 0.815 (7) 0.768 (12) 0.792
7 LSU 7 2 0.755 (16) 0.825 (6) 0.79
8 TCU 6 1 0.775 (11) 0.802 (8) 0.788
9 Baylor 6 1 0.738 (21) 0.837 (5) 0.788
10 Notre Dame 6 1 0.853 (6) 0.701 (17) 0.777
11 Clemson 6 2 0.761 (14) 0.774 (11) 0.767
12 Nebraska 7 1 0.812 (8) 0.716 (16) 0.764
13 Florida State 7 0 0.92 (3) 0.601 (31) 0.76
14 Ohio State 6 1 0.738 (20) 0.778 (10) 0.758
15 West Virginia 6 2 0.691 (27) 0.764 (13) 0.728
16 Louisville 6 2 0.69 (28) 0.757 (14) 0.724
17 Marshall 8 0 0.772 (12) 0.662 (22) 0.717
18 Oregon 7 1 0.791 (10) 0.62 (28) 0.706
19 Boise State 6 2 0.726 (22) 0.681 (19) 0.704
20 Oklahoma 5 2 0.703 (25) 0.677 (21) 0.69
21 Kansas State 6 1 0.743 (18) 0.632 (26) 0.688
22 Wisconsin 5 2 0.604 (35) 0.75 (15) 0.677
23 Arizona State 6 1 0.753 (17) 0.582 (34) 0.667
24 Miami-FL 5 3 0.643 (33) 0.683 (18) 0.663
25 UCLA 6 2 0.721 (23) 0.574 (36) 0.648
26 Arizona 6 1 0.757 (15) 0.537 (43) 0.647
27 Colorado State 7 1 0.766 (13) 0.513 (50) 0.639
28 Arkansas 4 4 0.475 (64) 0.799 (9) 0.637
29 Texas A&M 5 3 0.677 (30) 0.594 (33) 0.636
30 USC 5 3 0.644 (32) 0.627 (27) 0.635
31 Georgia Tech 6 2 0.673 (31) 0.58 (35) 0.626
32 Duke 6 1 0.707 (24) 0.531 (45) 0.619
33 Stanford 5 3 0.553 (45) 0.679 (20) 0.616
34 East Carolina 6 1 0.686 (29) 0.503 (52) 0.594
35 Florida 3 3 0.507 (52) 0.66 (24) 0.584
36 Iowa 5 2 0.565 (42) 0.596 (32) 0.58
37 Utah 6 1 0.742 (19) 0.403 (78) 0.572
38 Georgia Southern 6 2 0.578 (38) 0.558 (40) 0.568
39 Penn State 4 3 0.487 (60) 0.646 (25) 0.566
40 Memphis 4 3 0.553 (44) 0.568 (37) 0.561
41 Minnesota 6 2 0.695 (26) 0.418 (74) 0.556
42 Boston College 5 3 0.506 (53) 0.605 (30) 0.556
43 UCF 5 2 0.578 (37) 0.519 (49) 0.548
44 Virginia Tech 4 4 0.476 (62) 0.611 (29) 0.543
45 Pittsburgh 4 4 0.395 (78) 0.662 (23) 0.528
46 Missouri 6 2 0.637 (34) 0.387 (87) 0.512
47 Air Force 5 2 0.597 (36) 0.421 (73) 0.509
48 South Carolina 4 4 0.492 (58) 0.523 (47) 0.507
49 Kentucky 5 3 0.544 (46) 0.466 (60) 0.505
50 Rutgers 5 3 0.57 (41) 0.437 (67) 0.503
51 North Carolina 4 4 0.503 (55) 0.502 (53) 0.502
52 Arkansas State 4 3 0.495 (56) 0.507 (51) 0.501
53 Louisiana Tech 5 3 0.574 (39) 0.428 (68) 0.501
54 Maryland 5 3 0.574 (40) 0.423 (71) 0.498
55 BYU 4 4 0.459 (66) 0.527 (46) 0.493
56 MTSU 5 3 0.561 (43) 0.415 (76) 0.488
57 LA-Lafayette 4 3 0.492 (59) 0.476 (58) 0.484
58 Nevada 4 3 0.523 (49) 0.444 (64) 0.484
59 NC State 4 4 0.444 (70) 0.52 (48) 0.482
60 Houston 4 3 0.378 (84) 0.567 (38) 0.472
61 Northwestern 3 4 0.376 (85) 0.567 (39) 0.471
62 Tennessee 3 5 0.387 (81) 0.554 (41) 0.47
63 South Alabama 5 2 0.482 (61) 0.456 (61) 0.469
64 Oregon State 4 3 0.493 (57) 0.438 (66) 0.466
65 Cincinnati 4 3 0.475 (63) 0.449 (62) 0.462
66 Oklahoma State 5 3 0.528 (48) 0.394 (82) 0.461
67 Virginia 4 4 0.375 (86) 0.546 (42) 0.461
68 Western Michigan 5 3 0.504 (54) 0.416 (75) 0.46
69 Utah State 5 3 0.536 (47) 0.383 (89) 0.459
70 Northern Illinois 6 2 0.522 (50) 0.393 (84) 0.458
71 California 4 4 0.467 (65) 0.446 (63) 0.456
72 Washington 5 3 0.508 (51) 0.403 (77) 0.456
73 UAB 4 4 0.391 (80) 0.495 (54) 0.443
74 Navy 4 4 0.394 (79) 0.492 (56) 0.443
75 Rice 4 3 0.445 (69) 0.427 (69) 0.436
76 Michigan 3 5 0.331 (94) 0.535 (44) 0.433
77 UTEP 4 3 0.456 (67) 0.402 (79) 0.429
78 San Jose State 3 4 0.411 (74) 0.44 (65) 0.426
79 Central Michigan 5 4 0.404 (76) 0.424 (70) 0.414
80 Toledo 5 3 0.443 (71) 0.375 (90) 0.409
81 Texas 3 5 0.343 (92) 0.47 (59) 0.406
82 Illinois 4 4 0.42 (73) 0.383 (88) 0.402
83 Syracuse 3 5 0.403 (77) 0.392 (85) 0.398
84 Washington State 2 6 0.29 (99) 0.495 (55) 0.393
85 Akron 4 4 0.355 (89) 0.422 (72) 0.388
86 San Diego State 4 3 0.431 (72) 0.342 (96) 0.386
87 Texas Tech 3 5 0.373 (87) 0.4 (81) 0.386
88 Western Kentucky 3 4 0.379 (82) 0.393 (83) 0.386
89 Colorado 2 6 0.259 (102) 0.49 (57) 0.374
90 Bowling Green 5 3 0.455 (68) 0.285 (105) 0.37
91 Temple 4 3 0.408 (75) 0.327 (97) 0.367
92 Texas State 4 3 0.378 (83) 0.35 (94) 0.364
93 Fresno State 3 5 0.373 (88) 0.35 (92) 0.362
94 Indiana 3 4 0.349 (91) 0.35 (93) 0.349
95 Purdue 3 5 0.337 (93) 0.343 (95) 0.34
96 Iowa State 2 5 0.277 (100) 0.388 (86) 0.333
97 Florida Atlantic 3 5 0.352 (90) 0.279 (107) 0.316
98 Old Dominion 3 5 0.296 (98) 0.304 (103) 0.3
99 LA-Monroe 3 4 0.27 (101) 0.318 (99) 0.294
100 FIU 3 5 0.222 (104) 0.361 (91) 0.291
101 Ohio 4 5 0.331 (95) 0.246 (111) 0.288
102 Southern Miss 3 5 0.328 (96) 0.223 (116) 0.276
103 Wyoming 3 5 0.314 (97) 0.22 (117) 0.267
104 Ball State 3 5 0.208 (106) 0.306 (102) 0.257
105 Tulane 2 5 0.181 (110) 0.31 (101) 0.245
106 Appalachian State 2 5 0.152 (113) 0.325 (98) 0.239
107 New Mexico 2 5 0.207 (107) 0.262 (110) 0.234
108 South Florida 3 5 0.248 (103) 0.19 (119) 0.219
109 Buffalo 3 5 0.116 (116) 0.316 (100) 0.216
110 Kansas 2 5 0.206 (108) 0.224 (115) 0.215
111 Idaho 1 6 0.018 (127) 0.4 (80) 0.209
112 Hawaii 2 5 0.133 (114) 0.28 (106) 0.207
113 UTSA 2 6 0.213 (105) 0.183 (120) 0.198
114 Massachusetts 2 7 0.106 (119) 0.275 (108) 0.191
115 Miami-OH 2 7 0.071 (122) 0.292 (104) 0.182
116 New Mexico State 2 6 0.121 (115) 0.235 (113) 0.178
117 Tulsa 1 6 0.063 (123) 0.274 (109) 0.169
118 UNLV 2 6 0.158 (112) 0.162 (122) 0.16
119 Wake Forest 2 6 0.164 (111) 0.15 (124) 0.157
120 Vanderbilt 2 6 0.197 (109) 0.083 (126) 0.14
121 Georgia State 1 7 0.023 (126) 0.238 (112) 0.13
122 North Texas 2 6 0.097 (120) 0.154 (123) 0.126
123 Army 2 5 0.087 (121) 0.164 (121) 0.125
124 Connecticut 1 6 0.034 (125) 0.204 (118) 0.119
125 Kent State 1 7 0.004 (128) 0.231 (114) 0.117
126 Eastern Michigan 2 6 0.113 (117) 0.05 (127) 0.081
127 Troy 1 7 0 (129) 0.12 (125) 0.06
128 Non FBS 8 92 0.111 (118) 0.002 (128) 0.056
129 SMU 0 7 0.043 (124) 0 (129) 0.021

2014 College Football – Week 8 – Cannibalism

It is very possible that the four best teams in the country reside in the two states west of Georgia.  Certainly Alabama’s evisceration of Texas A&M (yes, I know – they aren’t that good) improved their quality measures a lot.  In terms offense and defense, Alabama has been very strong.  That said, they are behind in the conference race, and that has to take some precedent.  Now, the selection committee’s criteria is super-fuzzy, but I have to think that conference supremacy matters.  As such, the Mississippi schools still lead the charge here.

Of course, this is obvious stuff.  What is interesting though is that, while the SEC West and the Big XII have taken turns beating themselves up, (the Pac-12 too) the ACC and Big Ten suddenly have some opportunities to sneak into one of the Final Four spots.  In fact, once Florida State dispatched Notre Dame in the clear Game of the Year to date, the Big Ten suddenly had something to brag about.

As far as the one-man playoff selection committee?

  • The final 4: Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Michigan State and Florida State.  The two SEC teams are obvious here.  As for why the #5 and #10 teams on the list get the nod?  The committee is expected to weigh conference supremacy some, so I will too.  That is certainly part of it.  But it is also worth looking at the ranking scores, not just the ordinal ranks.  Once we get out of the top 4, you basically have 10 teams separate by 5 percent.  This is not a large gap, and with the limited datasets you have to make some leaps.  I take Michigan State as the Big Ten leader and highest rated non SEC team, and Florida State by virtue of leading its conference, still being unbeaten and a head to head result over #9.  If you wanted to choose TCU or Baylor or even Ohio State, you would not be crazy.
  • Other automatic qualifiers:  TCU from the Big 12, USC from the Pac 12, Marshall from “everybody else”.  With Florida State in the national semifinals, the Orange Bowl by fiat takes Clemson, the next highest ranked ACC team.  The opponent is the highest rated SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame opponent so hooray for Alabama.
  • This leaves just three more spots.  Here Auburns get in with monstrous strength ratings.  Baylor and Georgia get the other two slots.  This leaves us with a Cotton Bowl which might take 5 hours to play.
  • BOWL PROJECTIONS.
    • Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss v Florida State
    • Rose Bowl: Mississippi State v Michigan State
    • Orange Bowl: Clemson v Alabama
    • Cotton Bowl: Baylor v Auburn  
    • Peach Bowl: Georgia v Marshall
    • Fiesta Bowl: TCU v USC

Weekly Power Rankings

Rank Team W L RPI Scale DSR Scale TotalRank
1 Alabama 6 1 0.883 (5) 1 (1) 0.941
2 Ole Miss 7 0 0.984 (2) 0.89 (3) 0.937
3 Mississippi State 6 0 1 (1) 0.832 (4) 0.916
4 Auburn 5 1 0.923 (3) 0.891 (2) 0.907
5 Michigan State 6 1 0.769 (12) 0.79 (8) 0.779
6 TCU 5 1 0.776 (11) 0.776 (10) 0.776
7 Georgia 6 1 0.815 (7) 0.736 (13) 0.776
8 Baylor 6 1 0.732 (17) 0.819 (5) 0.775
9 Notre Dame 6 1 0.843 (6) 0.687 (16) 0.765
10 Florida State 7 0 0.916 (4) 0.585 (34) 0.75
11 LSU 6 2 0.695 (25) 0.79 (7) 0.743
12 Ohio State 5 1 0.685 (29) 0.799 (6) 0.742
13 Clemson 5 2 0.736 (16) 0.742 (11) 0.739
14 Marshall 7 0 0.777 (9) 0.683 (18) 0.73
15 Nebraska 6 1 0.768 (13) 0.685 (17) 0.726
16 West Virginia 5 2 0.643 (31) 0.784 (9) 0.714
17 Louisville 6 2 0.692 (28) 0.726 (14) 0.709
18 Oregon 6 1 0.776 (10) 0.631 (27) 0.704
19 Oklahoma 5 2 0.696 (24) 0.661 (21) 0.679
20 USC 5 2 0.694 (26) 0.655 (22) 0.674
21 Boise State 5 2 0.693 (27) 0.654 (23) 0.674
22 Arizona State 5 1 0.716 (18) 0.591 (31) 0.653
23 UCLA 5 2 0.713 (20) 0.589 (32) 0.651
24 Kansas State 5 1 0.716 (19) 0.581 (35) 0.648
25 Arizona 5 1 0.749 (15) 0.533 (44) 0.641
26 Colorado State 6 1 0.757 (14) 0.521 (46) 0.639
27 Texas A&M 5 3 0.678 (30) 0.586 (33) 0.632
28 Minnesota 6 1 0.79 (8) 0.434 (65) 0.612
29 Duke 6 1 0.7 (23) 0.505 (49) 0.603
30 East Carolina 5 1 0.7 (22) 0.503 (52) 0.602
31 Virginia Tech 4 3 0.511 (52) 0.669 (19) 0.59
32 Wisconsin 4 2 0.514 (51) 0.664 (20) 0.589
33 Arkansas 3 4 0.439 (68) 0.738 (12) 0.589
34 Pittsburgh 4 3 0.462 (63) 0.71 (15) 0.586
35 Penn State 4 2 0.566 (40) 0.606 (29) 0.586
36 Miami-FL 4 3 0.539 (46) 0.626 (28) 0.583
37 Florida 3 3 0.51 (54) 0.653 (24) 0.582
38 Iowa 5 2 0.555 (43) 0.6 (30) 0.578
39 Stanford 4 3 0.501 (56) 0.639 (25) 0.57
40 Georgia Tech 5 2 0.617 (34) 0.512 (47) 0.565
41 Arkansas State 4 2 0.563 (41) 0.546 (40) 0.554
42 Boston College 4 3 0.465 (62) 0.634 (26) 0.549
43 Maryland 5 2 0.605 (36) 0.482 (57) 0.543
44 Utah 5 1 0.704 (21) 0.377 (87) 0.54
45 Kentucky 5 2 0.625 (32) 0.456 (61) 0.54
46 Memphis 3 3 0.51 (55) 0.569 (36) 0.539
47 Rutgers 5 2 0.591 (37) 0.457 (60) 0.524
48 Georgia Southern 5 2 0.542 (45) 0.504 (50) 0.523
49 Virginia 4 3 0.461 (64) 0.557 (38) 0.509
50 Missouri 5 2 0.624 (33) 0.389 (80) 0.507
51 South Carolina 4 3 0.499 (57) 0.511 (48) 0.505
52 BYU 4 3 0.472 (61) 0.53 (45) 0.501
53 Oklahoma State 5 2 0.611 (35) 0.389 (81) 0.5
54 Oregon State 4 2 0.536 (47) 0.461 (59) 0.498
55 Air Force 5 2 0.581 (38) 0.406 (73) 0.494
56 Nevada 4 3 0.534 (48) 0.449 (62) 0.492
57 MTSU 5 3 0.574 (39) 0.408 (72) 0.491
58 Tennessee 3 4 0.437 (69) 0.54 (43) 0.489
59 UCF 4 2 0.557 (42) 0.412 (71) 0.485
60 UAB 4 3 0.417 (76) 0.544 (42) 0.48
61 NC State 4 4 0.446 (65) 0.501 (53) 0.473
62 Houston 4 3 0.379 (82) 0.559 (37) 0.469
63 California 4 3 0.516 (50) 0.421 (67) 0.468
64 Louisiana Tech 4 3 0.511 (53) 0.42 (68) 0.465
65 Washington 5 2 0.553 (44) 0.376 (88) 0.465
66 South Alabama 4 2 0.476 (59) 0.446 (63) 0.461
67 Northwestern 3 4 0.371 (84) 0.549 (39) 0.46
68 San Jose State 3 3 0.474 (60) 0.437 (64) 0.456
69 Utah State 4 3 0.52 (49) 0.391 (77) 0.456
70 North Carolina 3 4 0.402 (78) 0.493 (54) 0.448
71 Michigan 3 4 0.348 (91) 0.546 (41) 0.447
72 Northern Illinois 5 2 0.478 (58) 0.401 (76) 0.439
73 Akron 4 3 0.426 (72) 0.432 (66) 0.429
74 Texas 3 4 0.353 (90) 0.504 (51) 0.429
75 Rice 3 3 0.443 (67) 0.402 (75) 0.423
76 LA-Lafayette 3 3 0.422 (74) 0.417 (69) 0.42
77 Western Michigan 4 3 0.443 (66) 0.39 (79) 0.417
78 Temple 4 2 0.425 (73) 0.404 (74) 0.414
79 Syracuse 3 4 0.406 (77) 0.416 (70) 0.411
80 Navy 3 4 0.329 (94) 0.492 (55) 0.411
81 Cincinnati 3 3 0.421 (75) 0.391 (78) 0.406
82 Washington State 2 5 0.303 (97) 0.491 (56) 0.397
83 San Diego State 4 3 0.429 (70) 0.343 (92) 0.386
84 Colorado 2 5 0.271 (101) 0.477 (58) 0.374
85 Texas Tech 3 4 0.366 (86) 0.379 (86) 0.373
86 Central Michigan 4 4 0.336 (92) 0.388 (82) 0.362
87 Toledo 4 3 0.388 (80) 0.334 (94) 0.361
88 Indiana 3 4 0.353 (89) 0.352 (91) 0.353
89 Fresno State 3 5 0.361 (88) 0.34 (93) 0.351
90 Bowling Green 5 3 0.429 (71) 0.272 (107) 0.35
91 LA-Monroe 3 3 0.379 (81) 0.315 (99) 0.347
92 Western Kentucky 2 4 0.301 (98) 0.382 (85) 0.341
93 Iowa State 2 5 0.272 (100) 0.384 (84) 0.328
94 Illinois 3 4 0.296 (99) 0.358 (90) 0.327
95 Purdue 3 5 0.317 (96) 0.331 (95) 0.324
96 Ohio 4 4 0.371 (83) 0.248 (111) 0.31
97 FIU 3 5 0.228 (105) 0.386 (83) 0.307
98 Southern Miss 3 4 0.39 (79) 0.218 (117) 0.304
99 UTEP 3 3 0.369 (85) 0.238 (113) 0.303
100 Old Dominion 3 4 0.33 (93) 0.276 (105) 0.303
101 Florida Atlantic 3 4 0.362 (87) 0.234 (115) 0.298
102 Texas State 3 3 0.247 (104) 0.326 (96) 0.287
103 UTSA 2 5 0.26 (103) 0.306 (101) 0.283
104 Wyoming 3 4 0.328 (95) 0.2 (120) 0.264
105 South Florida 3 4 0.262 (102) 0.235 (114) 0.249
106 Appalachian State 2 5 0.153 (114) 0.315 (98) 0.234
107 Tulane 2 5 0.168 (111) 0.297 (102) 0.232
108 Buffalo 3 4 0.153 (113) 0.307 (100) 0.23
109 New Mexico 2 5 0.195 (108) 0.255 (108) 0.225
110 Kansas 2 5 0.193 (109) 0.239 (112) 0.216
111 Hawaii 2 5 0.141 (115) 0.278 (104) 0.209
112 Ball State 2 5 0.115 (117) 0.273 (106) 0.194
113 Massachusetts 2 6 0.125 (116) 0.252 (110) 0.188
114 Idaho 1 6 0 (129) 0.373 (89) 0.187
115 UNLV 2 5 0.182 (110) 0.165 (121) 0.174
116 Tulsa 1 6 0.041 (122) 0.29 (103) 0.165
117 Miami-OH 1 7 0.014 (127) 0.316 (97) 0.165
118 New Mexico State 2 6 0.103 (120) 0.222 (116) 0.163
119 Wake Forest 2 5 0.205 (107) 0.111 (125) 0.158
120 Vanderbilt 2 5 0.206 (106) 0.094 (126) 0.15
121 Georgia State 1 6 0.014 (126) 0.252 (109) 0.133
122 North Texas 2 5 0.107 (119) 0.153 (123) 0.13
123 Kent State 1 6 0.036 (124) 0.212 (118) 0.124
124 Connecticut 1 5 0.03 (125) 0.206 (119) 0.118
125 Army 2 5 0.072 (121) 0.154 (122) 0.113
126 Eastern Michigan 2 5 0.168 (112) 0.01 (128) 0.089
127 Troy 1 6 0.005 (128) 0.125 (124) 0.065
128 Non FBS 8 92 0.108 (118) 0.013 (127) 0.06
129 SMU 0 6 0.04 (123) 0 (129) 0.02

Top 5 offenses by Net DSR:
1. Oregon
2. Georgia Tech
3. Auburn
4. Ohio State
5. Alabama

Top 5 defenses by Net DSR
1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Louisville
4. Virginia Tech
5. Stanford

The Act of Killing

Am I supposed to laugh during a film about a bunch of right wing mass murderers?  Of course, The Act of Killing was co-produced by Errol Morris and Werner Herzog, so the answer might be yes.  Of course, I was also terrified, disgusted, stunned and ultimately moved by this story too – what I do not normally expect from a documentary about this sort of material is just frankly, how entertaining this film is.  Much of this entertainment is supplied by the gangsters themselves – killers working on behalf of the anti-Communist purge in Indonesia in 1965-1966, one of the guys surmised that he personally killed about 1,000 people.  These guys are legends in Indonesian circles, feted by the government and more or less bulletproof in their society.  We see this as one of them, Safit Pardede, makes his rounds collecting protection money from Chinese merchants, while demanding a smile as it is done so.  Imagine a Goodfellas where not only does Paulie Cicero get away with it, but he is a guest of Barack Obama, and you start to get the idea.

Of course, being heroes, who wouldn’t jump at director Joshua Oppenheimer’s offer to help make and star in a movie about their exploits?  As one of the gangsters notes, they got a lot of their stylistic ideas from old Hollywood movies anyway.  They know a popular entertainment when they see one.  And so we get an amazing collision between a first person account of unspeakable terror along with a sort of “let’s make a movie” romp.  Oppenheimer does not use narration, and is only heard off screen asking some fairly basic questions – so we are at sea.  The tone is not being spoon fed to us, but we are invited to experience this.  The movie scenes themselves are a combination of torture scenes ripped out of American action movies, interspersed with these startlingly weird fantasy sequences.  One unforgettable image is a fantasy sequence taking place outside of a fish restaurant (and by “fish restaurant” I don’t mean a restaurant that serves fish – they might be vegan for all I know).  For this, Hernan Koto, one of the old gangster’s friends dresses up in the female role – making him a sort of Indonesian Divine (his wardrobe choices throughout are spectacular), and against the backdrop of Indonesia and the bright colors I was half expecting Bollywood backup dancers to materialize.

The making of the film serves are the core of the documentary, and what we get are these sorts of bizarre movie scenes juxtaposed with some truly terrifying moments where the real horror of what happened in Indonesia surfaces.  One occurs early on, when a scene is staged as they look to cast “terrified onlookers” and the screaming and crying sound all too real.  Another occurs later, when a Chinese merchant lobbies for his side of the story to be told – and the story he tells of his family being destroyed is tragic, underlined by his need to point out “I am not criticizing your behavior”.  The need for many to equivocate runs rampant.

A lot of these guys did monstrous things, but they are fellow human beings – and the redeeming possibility is that there is some humanity.  Certainly as the film evolves, we learn that Anwar Congo has been having bad dreams and visions about what he has done.  One of his fellow killers – Adi Zulkadry – is ruthless when he berates one of the former newspaper workers who claims he did not know what the gangsters did.  Indeed as the film moves on, it starts to be about these two men to me – and how the atrocities they committed live in their souls.  Congo’s effects are obvious (and especially true in the stunning climax), but Zulkadry’s is also.  He has moved on, compartmentalized the incident, but clearly he is not blind – and his anger when someone wants to float the narrative about what happened is telling.

That said, like all good movies, there are other angles.  It is obviously about Indonesia today, as well as how a society can live with a lie (US knows a lot about that).  It can also be read as comic, in the movie depictions as well as the bizarre need for these people who have gotten away with so much to flaunt it.  But most of all to me it comes back to Congo and Zulkadry – and how time and the gravity of what they did have started to catch up with them.  Human beings did this to other human beings, and when Congo realizes it at the end, it is somewhat vindicating.  It isn’t bringing the dead back, but it’s something.